When the matchmakers put this game together, they must have smiled smugly. Matching the defending Super Bowl Champion Los Angeles Rams against the Kansas City Chiefs, with their four straight appearances in AFC Conference title game, should have been TV ratings gold. Their last meeting, in 2018, was wild shootout with almost 900 yards passing in a Rams 54-51 win.
But L.A has not held up its end and a close game, let alone a victory, would be shocking. 2022 has been a carousel of injuries and under achievement, this week is no different. The offensive line has been the flashpoint and there just cannot be any cohesive success expected from a five-man unit that had personnel shuffles in all 10 regular season games.
Nothing has changed for the Rams. This week, starting center Brian Allen is out, Matt Skura and Ty Nseke are questionable. Allen missed six games earlier in the season with a knee injury and this is his second straight game out with a thumb issue. Skura at left guard and Nseke at left tackle are both L.A.’s fourth different body at their respective positions.
To add salt to the wound, the Rams top offensive playmakers, quarterback Matthew Stafford and receiver Cooper Kupp, are out indefinitely and #2 wide out Allen Robinson is questionable, limited by a bad ankle Regular backup QB John Wolford missed last week’s game and was limited in preparation for the Chiefs, so it looks like backup QB Bryce Perkins will get his first NFL start, but L.A. Head Coach Sean McVay is playing it coy on who will lead the team.
Sean McVay says "you'll see on Sunday" whether QB Bryce Perkins starts.— Jourdan Rodrigue (@JourdanRodrigue) November 25, 2022
However, he also confirms that Perkins has gotten the No. 1 reps this week. John Wolford has been limited this week (neck).
It’s not the Chiefs defense the Rams need to worry about. Kansas City has the top scoring offense in the NFL at 30 points per game as well as the league’s top passing offense. Continuing on his path to the NFL Hall of Fame, sixth-year quarterback Patrick Mahomes is completing an average 27 of 40 passes for 327 yards and three touchdowns per game.
KC uses a dual threat run game with Isiah Pacheco (386) and Clyde Edwards-Helaire (302) combining for 688 yards and four TD’s. Mahomes has added 238 on scrambles. Tight end Travis Kelce is the go-to receiver with 855 yards on 69 grabs. JuJu Smith-Schuster adds 615 yards on 46 catches and Marquez Valdes-Scantling averages 17.3 yards on his 27 snares.
Defensively, the Chiefs are a middle of the pack unit. In the bottom 10 giving up pass yardage and the top five in run yardage. The success of the run defense may be skewed by the fact that KC’s offensive scoring prowess forces opposing teams in a passing, catch up game. They give up 4.4 yards per carry.
Kansas City is good at getting after the quarterback, right around a top five unit. They blitz almost 30 percent of the time, create pressure on 25 percent of dropbacks, and have secured 32 sacks. All-Pro defensive tackle Chris Jones leads in sacks with nine.
If the Rams cannot sustain drives on offense, it could be a long day. The Chiefs are exactly the type of team that takes advantage of L.A.’s bend-but-don’t-break defensive schemes. To slow KC down, the Rams need to reverse some alarming season-long trends, namely a lack of turnovers (tied for 30th) and pass rush pressure (31st).
How to follow the game
Date: Sunday November 27
Kickoff: 1:25 PST
Location: GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.
Watch it live: Fox (nationally) and DirecTV Sunday Ticket
Live stream: Sling TV, L.A. Rams official app, NFL Plus, Hulu Live, fubo TV, DirecTV STREAM (formerly known as AT&T TV), and many others.
Listen: ESPN LA 710 AM and affiliates, KLSD 1360 AM (San Diego), KKUU HD2 (Palm Springs), KTIE 590 AM (Riverside), KAVL 610 AM and 106.7 FM (Lancaster), KSMA 1240 AM and 99.5 FM (Santa Maria), and KMET 1490 AM (Banning), 93.1 Jack FM, and Tu Liga 1330 AM and affiliates, KTMZ 1220 AM (Pomona), KWAC 1490 AM (Bakersfield), KGST 1600 AM (Fresno), KCAL 1410 AM (Riverside), and KXLM 102.9 FM/KOXR 910 AM (both in Oxnard/Ventura).
Current betting odds at DraftKings Sportsbook
Line: LA Rams -15.5 -110
Over/under total: 41.5 -110
Money line: LA Rams +800 / KC Chiefs -1250